Highlights:

  • Unspoiled parks and wildlife reserves with abundant rare species.
  • Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Playa Larga, Havana.
  • Two UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Snorkel and swim in the Bay of Pigs, kayak in Cienfuegos.
  • Havana Extension available.

Cuba is a land of beautiful contrasts, with unspoiled nature reserves just a stone's throw from famous colonial cities. Hike mountain and beach paths, explore two of the island's six UNESCO World Heritage sites, visit Hemingway's home, snorkel in the famous Bay of Pigs, and walk in a veritable forest of orchids, some that grow only in Cuba. No matter the political realities, the country's rich culture continues to flourish and thrive. We dine among the locals in paladars, celebrate local arts and culture, and visit many of Cuba's best loved natural places. This is a people-to-people trip and so much more. It's a chance to see and know the very best of an unspoiled gem. Regrettably, we are able to offer this trip to US citizens only.

Saturday Overnight: Hotel America

Meet our local guide and driver at Santa Clara airport, then stretch your legs with a walking tour of Santa Clara's town center and the centrally located Parque Leoncio Vida, near our hotel. Meet this evening for an Introductory Talk at the hotel, then dinner at a local paladar.

Sunday Overnight: Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad

Hike the Vegas Grandes trail through a pine forest to a plunging waterfall, with time for a dip in the swimming hole. After lunch on the trail, we'll drive to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Cuba's best preserved colonial city. There's a walking tour of the historic main square this afternoon, followed by dinner at a local paladar.

Monday Overnight: Hotel la Union

Driving toward Cienfuegos, known as the ˜Pearl of the South', we'll stop for a hike at the protected area known as Valle de Yaguanabo, for stunning views of the Escambray mountains to the north and the Caribbean coast to the south. Arriving in Cienfuegos, we enjoy a walking tour and a special performance by a local chorale group, then head to the town harbor for a swim or relaxing paddle in the bay.

Tuesday Overnight: Hotel la Union

Today begins with a short drive to the Jardin Botanico Cienfuegos, one of Cuba's largest botanical gardens with 2000 species of plants, just outside of town. A local expert will lead our tour here. We then drive a bit further to Laguna Guanaroca, a nature preserve with a resident flock of flamingos, where we explore the lake on small row boats. We'll lunch at one of our favorite seafood paladors and perhaps take a swim in the bay. A short ferry ride takes us to explore the dramatic limestone fortress Castillo de Jagua, at the entrance of the Bay of Cienfuegos.

Wednesday Overnight: Hostal Enrique

Our day begins with a visit to a local cigar factory where we learn about cigar making and its important place in the Cuban economy.  Traveling west toward the Bay of Pigs, we stop at the Bay of Pigs Museum for a Cuban perspective on the historic events of 1961. After our visit, we walk the Engima de las Rocas trail to see native birds and limestone cenotes. We'll stop for lunch in the area, then drive further along the stunning coastline to a favorite snorkeling and swimming spot, Punta Perdiz. We'll try to catch the colorful sunset from the tiny coastal town of Playa Larga, before dinner at our casa there.

Thursday Overnight: Hotel Nacional

Driving to Havana, we stop at Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway's former estate, now a museum. It's said to have inspired several of his greatest books, including ˜Old Man and the Sea'. We'll arrive in Havana in time for lunch and a guided tour of Habana Vieja. After checking into our historic hotel, we'll freshen up and head out again for a city cruise in Cuba's famous colorful classic cars. This would be a great night for enjoying the local music scene. Possibly a show at Tropicana or pop into Cafe Taberna for the Buena Vista Social Club.

Friday Overnight: Hotel Nacional

Option One: Enjoy a mid-morning hike in the Orquiderio de Soroa, with over 700 species of orchids, many of which grow only in Cuba. Afterwards, we'll tour a famous coffee plantation in Las Terrazzas before heading back to Havana.  Alternatively, if you are not extending your visit, consider spending a full day in Havana. There's much to see, including the cigar factory, the Havana Club Rum Museum, a fine arts museum, and the Museum of the Revolution. This option allows ample time for a visit to the San Jose Artisans Market, with its maze of shops and galleries. The group will come back together for our Farewell Dinner.

Saturday

After breakfast, we will proceed with the extension portion of the trip, or  transport you to Havana Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) for departure from Cuba.
Easy-Moderate

It's fabulous; you meet interesting people, so well planned and such fun!



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Dates

16-MAR-19 - 23-MAR-19
07-DEC-19 - 14-DEC-19
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Arrival: Santa Clara Airport
Departure: Havana Airport
Cuba Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Hotel America

Hotel America

The Hotel America is situated in the center of Santa Clara, capital of the most central province of Cuba, is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy visits to historical sites like the mausoleum of Che Guevara. The america hotel is within a walking distance from Leoncio Vidal Park, Teatro La Caridad , Iglesia del Buen Viaje and others city attractions. The Hotel America offers personalized service, reception, bar, restaurant La Alborada, and comfortable rooms with air conditioning, telephone, satellite TV, safe and minibar.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad

Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad

At the Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad you are close to the genuine Cuban soul in a five-star hotel in the heart of Trinidad, the so-called ˜city-museum of Cuba and a Unesco World Heritage Site. This exclusive hotel in Trinidad is actually an adults-only hotel (guests cannot be under 15 years old), one of the most impressive properties on the island, and a space where luxury, tradition, history and culture come together in perfect harmony. The Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad offers Butler and Concierge Services, SPA Sensations, 11am-11pm Room Service, Laundry Service and in-room safes.

Hotel la Union

Hotel la Union

Hotel La Unin is one of Cuba's provincial gems, located just one block from the main plaza in the heart of downtown. The thoughtful remodel of this three-story neoclassical 19th-century hotel exudes elegant yesteryear airs thanks to its antiques and quality antique reproductions. The swimming pool is built into a ground floor courtyard with faux-Romanesque elements such as classical statuary. And the hotel's Restaurant 1869 is undisputably the city's finest. A small spa offers massage and beauty treatments. There's a small business center with Internet access. The amenities include air conditioning, satellite TVs, radios, telephones, small refrigerators, and in-room safes.

Hostal Enrique

Hostal Enrique

Hostal Enrique is located at few meters from the beach, with a terrace and a view to the sea. It has an air-conditioned kitchen-dining-room and excellent gastronomic service, considered by many specialists as one of the best locally. Hostal Enrique consists in two actual houses united by an inner hall. It offers Laundry Service, Massage.

Hotel Nacional

Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is considered a symbol of history, culture and Cuban identity. The guns that made up the old Santa Clara Battery are on exhibition at the garden, they were declared part of the World Heritage Site. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and it was inscribed in the World Memory Register. With its privileged location in the middle of Vedado, the center of Havana, it stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, and offers a great view of the Havana Harbor; the seawall and the city. Since 1930 the hotel has attracted a large number of personalities from the arts, science and politcs, such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, artists Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Johnny Weismuller, and scientist Alexander Flemming. Facilities: Air conditioning, Hair Dryer, No Smoking Rooms, Safe, Beauty salon, Laundry Service, Pool, Sauna, Massage, Fitness center, Steam shower, Tennis court, Internet access in public areas.

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What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - Walk Leaders and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants